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Learning Strategies

School-Connect lessons use multiple learning strategies to keep students engaged, curious, and ready to apply the lessons to real life. The first five items on this list -- Bell Ringer, Essential Questions, Think-Pair-Share, Wrap-Up and Reflection/Application -- are included in most School-Connect lessons. The other strategies are used throughout the curriculum.

Bell Ringer - A brief activity designed to activate former knowledge and get students on task upon entering the classroom, i.e., before the "final bell" rings.

Essential Questions - One to three questions provided at the beginning of the lesson and designed to lead students to the "enduring understandings" or "big ideas" within the lesson. Students do not respond to the questions at that time, but rather seek to answer them as they participate in a process of guided discovery during the lesson. It is helpful to have students take turns introducing the essential questions by reading them aloud in class.

Think-Pair-Share - Students take one minute to think of an answer to a question or prompt, pair and share with another student (each for one minute), and then share voluntarily with the class as a whole.

Wrap-Up - A review of the essential questions for the lesson and what students have learned.

Reflection/Application - Writing prompts and opportunities for applying lesson skills and strategies in real life situations and then reflecting on the experience.

Jigsaw - A collaborative activity in which students get one part of the lesson to work on independently or in a small group and then share information with one or more students or groups to complete a fuller picture of what they are studying.

Videos - Brief videos (two-to-seven minutes) designed to present lesson content and strategies, spark discussion, and/or model SEL skills.

Snowball - Students complete a written reflection or response, then ball it up into a "snowball" and throw it to the front of the room (or into a basket, for a "game" feel). Then, students grab another snowball and take turns reading the responses aloud. This is a fun, collaborative activity that provides some anonymity so that students are more willing to share.

Small Group Work - Groups of three to four students who work cooperatively on a lesson activity with one member reporting back to the class as a whole.

Lightning Round - Students quickly circulate the room and collect each other's responses to a question or prompt.

Quickshare - One at a time, students share their answer to a question or prompt in 10 seconds or less.

Role Plays - Practice sessions in which students demonstrate a SEL skill in a hypothetical situation involving a peer and receive feedback on their performance from a third student who is a neutral observer.

Literature Links - Pieces of literature (short stories, poems, plays, novels) that tie in with the lesson theme (in Lesson Extensions).

Writing Windows - Writing prompts providing opportunity for reflection on lesson content, strategies, and Literature Links (in Lesson Extensions).